The other day the BBC published a troubling article on lettings agents “drip-feeding charges” once a contract had been signed.
The article follows a report by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) which revealed they had received 4,000 complaints against unscrupulous lettings agents, filed by both landlords and tenants. Since the buy-to-let market is now on the rise, it’s all-the-more important for everyone to have lettings and estate agents they can trust.
Finding the right letting agent is as important as finding the right home. Lettings agents with poor standards give our whole business a bad reputation, but it’s of paramount importance to separate the wheat from the chaff. Landlords and tenants need trustworthy letting agents.
Gut feeling can be one thing when finding the right agent for you, but something more tangible and measurable – such as membership with an industry-recognised regulatory body - is a good way to find out if a lettings agency is honest and trustworthy.
Many regulating bodies exist, all with a common goal in mind: protection. Protection of landlords and tenants against corrupt so-called “lettings agents”, protection of landlords against tenants who don't pay the rent or behave as they should, protection of tenants against dishonest landlords, and so on.
The Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA), formed in 1981, requires members to show “thorough knowledge of their profession” and to “conduct their business according to current best management practice”. 3,500 agents have an ARLA membership, which demonstrates to customers that they can expect to be treated with care and professionalism. Other regulating bodies include Landlord Accreditation Wales, the Association of Letting and Management Agents (ALMA) and The Property Ombudsman. The latter acts as an independent party in cases of disputes between landlords, tenants and agents and has the power to issue agents with fines.
If you’re concerned about finding an honest lettings agent, we’d like to reassure you. In order to act in your best interests and offer you the best service possible, we belong to several regulating bodies.
Our fees are transparent and readily available, our terms and services are set out clearly, and it’s all written in plain English. Furthermore, should your property need repairs, we have a designated Maintenance Team to handle them.
Contact us today and let us show you everything a professional, regulated lettings agency can offer you.